Could the private rental sector be the answer to the UK’s housing problems?

The shortage of affordable housing in the UK is well documented and with fewer homes being built than in 1926 it’s not surprising to see why the rental market is booming. Although the ‘Help to Buy’ scheme has helped quite a few first time buyers into the property market, many people still can’t afford to do so and instead many potential first time buyers are turning to the rental market instead.

However, it’s not just the state of the property market that has created this rental demand. The changing lifestyle of people under 35 and a general shift in mind-set towards renting has also created this surge in the rental sector.

Attitudes are changing and the idea of home ownership is not as prevalent as it used to be. Increasingly, younger people are looking to live in well maintained apartments with good facilities in the heart of the town or city centre. Quality apartments that feel a bit more like a hotel are what under 35s want and that means apartments that come complete with a concierge service, gym, pool, WiFi and easy access to shops, bars and restaurants. Developers can’t build these apartments quick enough and the demand for this type of city centre living has never been higher. 

If property developers work closely with local planning authorities to deliver the infrastructure required for new building developments then it’s just possible that the rental sector will go some way to answering some of the UK’s current housing problems. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next 12 months.

1 September 2015
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